Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By John Berbrich
FCE Staff 

Dust To Gold by Cris Jacobs (2016) American Showplace Music

CD Review

 

Last updated 12/2/2016 at 3:37pm | View PDF

Cris Jacobs Album Cover

The first thing that caught my attention when listening to Dust To Gold, the new CD from Cris Jacobs, was his voice, so rich and earthy. And the words from the first song, "The Devil or Jesse James," are pure poetry-that's the second thing I noticed: "Call me a churchyard sinner/ Call me a graveyard saint/ Call me anything that you want to/ Call me the devil or Jesse James." There's something lonesome, haunted, and nearly heartbroken at the core of "The Devil or Jesse James." That stark moonlight guitar glares down on the night road, spotlighting the narrator running through Cajun country or down to Mexico, running from something, determined to get away from whatever it is; call him what you want, he doesn't care-he's gone. Another thing that stands out is the variety of the music. "Hallelujah Hustler" could be a gospel-flavored radio song. "Jack the Whistle and the Hammer" is a roadhouse stomp, followed on the CD by the stately, plaintive "Cold Carolina." "Bone Digger" is a straight-out rocker with some nasty, howling guitar. "Delivery Man," a catchy soulful love song, really grows on you. "Turn into Gold" is a dynamic slowed-down relentless rock meditation. On "Little Dreamer," Cris is joined on vocals by his wife Kat Jacobs, who discovered that she was pregnant just as The Band started to record the album; together they sing to their unborn: "It's a blink of an eye, this life/ Tiny grains in sands of time/ So tie your purposes on wings/ And fly to the heavens with the grace and courage of a thousand kings." Then we have the steady and measured "Break your Fall." "Shine your Weary Light" is a fluid funky rocker, featuring straight-ahead drums and guitar. The CD closes with "Leaving Charm City," sweet and sad.

A word about The Band: they are so good that you hardly notice them. What I mean is that whatever they play fits in perfectly with the mood of each individual song. I'm talking about Todd Herrington on bass, Dusty Ray Simmons on drums, and John Ginty on various keyboards; Jonathan Sloane plays slide guitar on a few songs. These guys are there when you need them and not when you don't. Cris Jacobs of course excels on vocals and guitar, plus he wrote all the songs, with Ginty helping out on "Delivery Man."

This guy's the real thing. Buy the music or catch The Band live-this December they're playing a number of shows between Washington DC and Brooklyn, New York. Check the website for dates and locations.

 

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